President Vladimir Putin has quoted the Bible to justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at a rally in Moscow on Friday, Putin said his so-called “military operation” in Ukraine was to “liberate people from their suffering” and “demilitarize and denazify” the country.
“To liberate people from the genocide is the main inspiring motive of the military operation we started in Donbass and in Ukraine, this is the objective, this the aim and, you know, I remember these words from the Bible, there's no other love other that if someone that gives their soul for their friends," President Putin said.
He was paraphrasing Jesus’ words from John 15:13.
The 69-year-old was addressing thousands of people gathered at a rally in Moscow to celebrate the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea eight years ago.
People could be seen waving flags with the letter “Z”, a sign in support of the conflict in Ukraine and listening to patriotic songs. According to Russian officials, more than 200,000 people attended the event at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
He also took the opportunity to say that Russian soldiers are fighting “shoulder to shoulder” and promised to “bring to trial those who perpetrated numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation.”